Hot Tub Time Travelling

April 28, 2010

So, I was lucky enough to go to a preview of Hot Tub Time Machine on monday night, but this it the first moment I’ve had to jot down a few thoughts about it. It’s not a full or proper review, because I don’t have time to look up directors, actors, etc. Just my overall thoughts.

Now, first I should say it’s not exactly my usual fare, filmwise – I’m not the hugest fan of the slapsticky run of American comedies we’ve had in recent years. But what the hell, it mentions time travel, so it had to have some redeeming features, right? The plot’s fairly basic – three middle-aged friends and one 20-yr old, end up in a hotel hot-tub trying to recapture a moment from the 80s and end up back in time, having to re-live moments of the three men’s lives so as not to destroy the space-time continuum.

Going back to the 80s is always fun. Even if the characters are a bit basic and stereotypical, and like I said before, some of the humour a little obvious for me. But, at its heart it still has a decent tale of friendship, loyalty and regaining the magical fearlessness of youth. And Chevy Chase as the mystical hot tub repair man (of course the time ‘machine’ gets broken and traps them in the past until it can be fixed).

I enjoyed my time in the cinema, but I’m not sure I’d normally have given it the time of day. It’s definitely pulp-y, watch-once and forget type cinema to me.

But I can’t really talk about it without mentioning the kind of British equivalent, another odd little comedy I watched recently (this time on DVD) called FAQ About Time Travel. Starring Chris O’Dowd from The IT Crowd, it’s a very British comedy take on the whole time travel question. You can tell this immediately as our trio of friends are awkward, geeky and understand the complex questions about how time travel might work.

It takes place in a pub, time travelling is not in a glam hot tub, but in a pub toilet. And instead of being whimsical, it actually has the main characters debating how time travel should work, in terms of changing the future. Where Hot Tub Time Machine is brash and in-your-face, FAQ About Time Travel is understated and witty – and although it’s not one I’d watch time and time again, if I had to buy one, it’d be the latter.

Anyone else seen either and have any comments? Or – what’s your favourite time travel film?

I’m not sure what my favourite is, perhaps Memento if that counts, but I’m thinking it probably doesn’t (asked my husband and he says it totally doesn’t!). I’ve heard Primer is good, but haven’t got my hands on it yet. But my favourite probably does have to go to one of Back to the Future, 12 Monkeys or Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – which kind of proves that time travel and comedy can mix extremely well!


  1. Memento is brill (and has Guy Pierce in, NOM NOM NOM), but I have to agree with hubby — as I recall (and it’s been a decade since I saw it) it’s a movie that plays with the timeline but that doesn’t actually involve time travel. More storytelling technique than actual going. I think.

    Bill & Ted’s! DUDE! Ah, fond college memories. 😀

  2. Bill and Teds is by far the best. I want to see Hot Tub but will wait till DVD. I think my favorite time travel move is more of a tandum time travel. I love Stargate. For a TV series it has to be Sliders

    • Nooo, for TV shows it’s Quantum Leap ;p

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